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MCN  says:

You Ask/You Answer: Countersteering

"I'm new to riding, and people keep telling me to steer the wrong way into corners – which certainly wasn't mentioned in my training! I've done some digging online, and have read up on the theory of 'countersteering' but there seem to be lots of conflicting opinions on the practice. Is it the right thing to do, or is it...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (10 December 2012 13:28)

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May 10

Posts: 4

fredwinter says:

counter steering may be an automatic technique but it is worth understanding the mechanics of it. In France, where I did my first lessons, I was taught counter steering within the first few sessions. It would be difficult to pass the first part of the french test without knowing how to do it. Part one of the test includes running in and out of cones at a minimum speed of about 30 to 40 kph. And there is an avoidance (swerve) exercise to perform at the end. In my view if you want to be able to react correctly in an emergency knowing how to countersteer is essential.

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Apr 10

Posts: 116

tim8061 says:

Steering . .

People confuse the issue by talking about steering the opposite way to which you want to go, when in fact all you are doing is exerting a force on the bars in the opposite direction in order for the gyroscopic forces to aid you and the bike leaning into and steering around the corner. You can demonstrate this really easily by consciously counter-steering and feeling how much quicker the bike steers into and round corners compared to when you relax completely and let the bike go round without. Don't get confused by people talking about MotoGP riders using opposite lock - this isn't counter-steering so much as sliding the rear out under power same as a speedway or Moto-X rider. Not recommended for your normal road rider who wants to stay alive.

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Nov 03

Posts: 471

kl595 says:

Counter steering and opposite lock are exactly the same.It's just a case of entry or exit, what speed you are doing and how much force you need to apply. IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME.

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Nov 03

Posts: 471

kl595 says:

I don't know why people try to make out that riding a bike is difficult and you need extra training and skills beyond that of a fighter pilot. Counter steering, opposite lock, weight down on the footrests arse of the seat, knee down-give me strength.

Get on it, twist the round thing on the right and smile.  

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Sep 10

Posts: 15

tbuk7 says:

Knee down

Talking of knee down, I was at the Avebury bike meet a few years ago. This guy on L plates riding an Aprilia RS125  done a knee down I have never seen anyone do before. He was in the lane opposite the pub  , As he left  he pulled away and when in middle of road dropped the bike on to his right knee  picked it back up and  rode off with his mates.

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Dec 12

Posts: 9

wagend says:

Not complicated

I don't know why there is such confusion over this. I understood this from riding a push bike, long before anyone would ever let me near a thing with an engine in it. The ONLY way to maneuver a 2 wheeled vehicle is by counter-steering. Jamming feet down into pegs or hanging your backside off the side of the bike don't in themselves make you turn other than by contributing to a countersteering effect at the handlebars.

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Feb 08

Posts: 817

Andy949494 says:


When you are travelling in a straight line at a reasonable speed (e.g. larger than 30 or so) pull your left bar towards you and push the right bar away GENTLY. The wheel will appear to turn to turn you towards the left but because of the gyroscopic action your bike will bank as if to turn right and you will move towards the centre of the road (i.e turn to the right). This effect is "counter steering". It is rarely seen below 20-30mph or so because the gyroscopic action of the wheels is less  - then you need to use conventional steering.   When taking corners at speed you can bank your bike with great control using this technique to increase or reduce the angle of the bike with the road. The bigger the bike (and particulary the higher the centre of mass) the less "telepathic" the steering tends to be and so the more you are likely to use countersteering conciously (e.g. A Honda Hornet you hardly have need to think about it at normal speeds on roads whilst a Deauville really benefits from a bit of counter steering to put it into a bend, hold it in balance and then lift it up out of a long bend.

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Jan 11

Posts: 127

petedj says:

easy as falling off a log

Poke a stick through a bowling ball and balance it on the end of the stick. If the centre of gravity is directly above the end of the stick it will balance. Now kick the stick out to the left it will fall to the right. This is what you do to initiate steering on a bike at any speed. Steer the front wheel; to the left the bike will then fall to the right. When all forces acting on the c. of g. are acting through the tyre contact patch the bike is stable either in a straight line or mid corner. Anyone who tells you some bikes have to be leaned over more or less at the same speed through the same corner is talking bollocks. To exit the corner you once again countersteer. If you are turning right you turn the bars to the right to pick the bike up so it will effectively fall left i.e. stand up.  Gyroscopic forces do not steer a bike, they only affect the effort it takes to turn the bars. The heavier the front wheel and the faster it is turning the more force is needed to steer.

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Jun 07

Posts: 89

Harry44 says:

There are two types of riders. Those that know they counter steer, and those who think something else is happening.

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Aug 02

Posts: 39

bud says:

If you've gone into a corner and got round it safe and sound, you've counter steered whether you know it or not. You'll recognise when you're doing it with experience. Why is there always a need to over intellectualise riding a bike as if it's some awsome complicated challenge?

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